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SuperPower – Camera stabilisation

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The article originally featured in ‘Amateur Photographer’.

Long-reaching zooms are not uncommon in the digital compact market, but those with image stabilisation are few and far between. Chris Gatcum puts three such models through their paces.

Traditionally, AP has shied away from extensive tests of digital compacts with fewer than five million pixels.It’s not that we don’t like them, but rather that the average enthusiast wants the quality and control afforded by higher-end models, not the point-and-shoot simplicity of their lower-end brethren. So this group is something of an exception, as not only do we have a brace of four-million-pixel cameras, but also one with ‘only’ 3.2 million pixels.

The reason for our change of heart is that these cameras are ‘special’ on two counts. First, each one has a 10x or 12x optical ‘super zoom’, providing a phenomenal range of focal lengths, and second, this has been combined with an image stabilisation system to help reduce the effects of camera shake when extremely long focal lengths are used.

So, whether you are a wildlife specialist, sports fan, aviation enthusiast or just want to get closer to your subject, these super zooms would appear to be the solution. Over the next few pages we test the Canon PowerShot S1 IS, the Konica Minolta Dimage Z3 and the Panasonic Lumix FZ-10.


These cameras are primarily fixed lens digital compacts, although the actual sensor inside differs across the models. The Konica Minolta Z3 and Panasonic FZ-10 both offer four million effective pixels, delivering maximum image sizes of 2272x1704 pixels and 2304x1728 pixels respectively. The Canon S1 has a slightly smaller sensor, with 3.2 million effective pixels delivering a maximum image size of 2048x1536 pixels. As we would expect, all can also record smaller images.

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